Monthly Archives March 2015

West Sumatra – Bukittingi and Padang

Just returned from three months lazing away in West Sumatra. I stayed in three places (yes…only three places in three months. I wasn’t kidding when I said I was ‘lazing’). I spent a few nights in Padang, and about 6 weeks divided between Bukittingi and Danau Maninjau.

I thought a report on accommodation etc might be useful for people travelling to this area. This is part 1, about Bukittingi, and I’ll write about Lake Maninjau and Padang in the next part.


First of all, if you are considering a trip to this area all I can say is GO!! Luscious scenery, low prices, fascinating culture and not too many other tourists. The other plus is that it’s so easy to get to from Singapore or S/E Asia...

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Lake Maninjau – Indonesia

I arrived at Lake Maninjau last week.  The last time I was here was 5 years ago, and, sadly for the locals, tourist numbers are WAY down now.  So, if you’re looking for somewhere quiet, beautiful, and not very touristy – come here!!  

Over the past 5 years I think I’ve spent about 2 years travelling to different places in Indonesia and SE Asia – and I think Maninjau is my favorite place.   It is beautiful, the locals are friendly and have a fascinating culture and the guesthouses are quiet and well-run. I think it’s a hidden gem on the SE Asian backpacker trail. 


I flew into Padang from KL, on Air Asia which is just a 1 hour flight, and then got a taxi to Maninjau...

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Cost of Travel in Indonesia

Indonesia is a huge country that is made up of a massive archipelago of over 17,000 islands. Each island offers an incredible natural environment and a diversity of cultures, traditions and ethnic groups.

In a country where you are able to relax on pristine islands, see Orangutans in the wild, climb volcanoes, and visit ancient historical sites, the cost of travel in Indonesia ensures it will continue to be a good deal for budget travelers.

Indonesia uses the Rupiah (IDR) currency – $1 = 8,710 IDR



Cost of Accommodation

Accommodation in general is quite affordable, if not outright cheap! Hostels are set up more as guest houses, it’s often easier to find double rooms than dorm beds. Some double rooms come en-suite, while other have communal bathroom facilities...

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Diving in Malapascua

Idyllic Malapascua is just a teeny blip on the Philippine’s tourism radar in comparison to bigger stars like Boracay or Palawan — and that’s part of what makes it so alluring to those who do make the arduous journey to get there. Those that do are mainly in pursuit of diving experiences
that are hard to replicate elsewhere, like spotting shy thresher sharks or getting up close and personal at a sea snake breeding ground.

While time and budget constraints kept me from exploring the underwater world of Malapascua to the extent that I desired, I did get a taste of what it is that attracts scuba enthusiasts from around the world.

Monad Shoal Thresher Shark Dive


Malapascua’s most famous dive is at the Monad Shoal, where boats assemble before sunrise, filled with divers hoping to s...

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Timoga Cold Springs in Iligan City, Philippines

The plan for that Saturday was to visit Timoga Cold Springs and the Macaraeg-Macapagal Ancestral House. I’ll write about the latter on another post so that I could concentrate here on Timoga Cold Springs.

Iligan City is nicknamed the City of Majestic Waterfalls. From this you would deduce there is an abundance of water in the area and Timoga Cold Springs are one product of that abundance.

7:34 AM – After meeting at Jollibee Aguinaldo and walking to the intersection ofAraneta St. and Roxas Ave. in Iligan City we were now on board a jeepney bound for Buru-un. (Same route of the jeepney we rode for our 3-waterfall, 1 day adventure.) We told the driver to drop us off at Timoga and we payed 12 Pesos/person.


Stores in front of Timoga Cold Springs

7:57 AM – We arrived at the vicinity of th...

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Cheding’s Peanuts – Philippines Delicacy

One of the reasons why I always avail of check-in luggage when I go to Iligan City is the Cheding’s Toasted Peanuts, or just Cheding’s Peanut. Cheding’s Peanut is widely known in Iligan as the tasty peanut that came from Iligan. It’s really good that when my uncle who works abroad knew that I was documenting Iligan City he told me that I should buy him 2 kilos of the peanuts. When I went home I had 4 kilos of Cheding’s Peanut in 1/4 kilo packages (52.50 Pesos/piece). Then the half-kilo of peanuts we placed during the my Lolo’s birthday party was quickly consumed.


When I was still in College I went to Iligan and gave my classmates Cheding’s Peanut and all those who gave feedback said that it tasted good.

So far in all my life, this is the best peanut I have tasted...

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